Most so-called “experts” will tell you not to mount a TV above your fireplace. We admit that it doesn’t create the ideal viewing conditions, but let’s be realistic: when you’ve got an awesome room, with a gorgeous fireplace, and you want a TV in the room, do you really care what those experts say? No… the answer is no.
It’s a perfectly acceptable to mount a TV above your fireplace if that’s what works best in your room. There are some potential pitfalls, for example needing to look up at the TV, but with advance planning and careful consideration you can craft a stunning room with a fantastic above the fireplace TV viewing experience.
The most important things to consider when hanging a TV above the fireplace are:
- Is it safe?
- Mantles & Alcoves
- TV Mount vs. Projector vs. Stand
- Best TV Mounts by Price
- Screen Size & Viewing Angle
- How high to mount the TV
- Don’t forget the soundbar!
Is it safe to put a TV above the fireplace?
Before you’re dead set on putting a TV above the fireplace, you’re probably wondering if the fireplace heat could damage your TV. Or even worse, could your TV catch on fire and burn down the house?
It’s safe to put a TV over the fireplace if the temperature at the mounting location doesn’t exceed 104 degrees for LED-LCD TVs or OLED TVs, and 113 degrees for QLED TVs. You can test this by running your fireplace for several hours and taping a simple thermometer to the wall above.
These temperature limits will protect your TV from damage, make sure you don’t void your manufacturers warranty, and (hopefully) prevent any unforeseen accidents (like your house burning down). However, higher temperatures and smoke have adverse effects on electronic components so the length of your TV’s life may be shorter above the fireplace than elsewhere.
These numbers are based on the manufacturers maximum “operating temperature” of popular television brands. The maximum storage temperature may be higher but is not recommended as a guideline for hanging your TV above the fireplace.
Wood vs. Gas vs. Electric Fireplaces
There are a few big differences between wood fireplaces, gas fireplaces, and electric fireplaces worth noting, but they won’t play a huge role in your TV purchase decision.
From an appearance standpoint, most people prefer the natural look of a wood fireplace, followed by the modern efficiency of a gas fireplace, and finally the affordability of an electric fireplace. Their impact on TV comes in reverse order: electric fireplaces create less heat and are more safe, gas fireplaces burn hotter but cleaner, and wood fireplaces create both extreme heat and smoke which can be most damaging to TVs.
Most people already have their fireplace, choosing a TV afterwards, but others may want to consider buying a fireplace ideal for TVs.
Fireplace Mantels & Alcoves for TV
Two of the best ways to protect your TV from the heat of a fireplace are with a fireplace mantel or alcove. A fireplace mantel acts as a barrier between the fireplace and the TV, deflecting hot air into the center of the room, while an alcove hides the TV from the path of hot air, which rises right past it.
Although fireplace mantels are considered decorative components, they were originally invented in medieval times to prevent smoke from entering the room, so their purpose has come full circle.
If you plan on sitting your TV directly on your mantle with a TV stand, make sure your mantle can hold the weight of the TV, or prepare for disaster.
TV Mounts, Projectors, and Stands
Wall-mounted TVs are the defacto above fireplace standard, but the introduction of mantels and alcoves present alternative methods of hanging (or not hanging) a TV over a fireplace.
Above Fireplace Projectors
Did you know that placing a projector a mere 2.2 inches from the wall can produce a brilliant 4K UHD image the size of a 90-inch TV? That’s the mind-blowing technology of Ultra Short Throw Projectors at work.
Ultra Short Throw Projectors like the LG HU85LA are perfect for placing on top of a fireplace mantelpiece as an alternative to a big screen TV. You’ll want to check the projector dimensions to make sure it’ll fit on your mantel, and you’ll want a screen on which to project the image, but it’s an option worth considering if you haven’t already.
TV Stands for Alcoves
If you’ve got an alcove above your fireplace, this is the perfect place to put a TV on a TV Stand. Make sure you buy a TV that swivels left to right and tilts up and down.
Most modern TV stands swivel left to right, allowing you to readjust the TV to different seats and viewing locations. However, far fewer TV stands tilt forward and back, which is extremely important for TVs above the fireplace; when looking upward at the TV you’ll want a TV stand that tilts downward.
Best TV Mount for Above the Fireplace
The best TV Mount for above the fireplace is the Mantel Mount because it’s designed specifically to meet the needs of the TV/Fireplace combination and addresses the challenges of the situation.
- Can you see it from the side?
- Does it tilt and swivel?
- How much does it cost?
Minimum Depth Mounts
If you don’t want the mounting hardware viewable from the side, you should look for a mount with minimum depth. This will give your room a clean look at all angles.
The Mantel Mount has a “Recess Box” that’s placed behind the wall during installation that hides all of the wires and cables. Not all setups allow for a recess box, for example a brick wall encapsulating the chimney, but when possible using a recess box offers the most professional look.
Tilt, Swivel, and Pull
Depending upon your room and the placement of seating, you’ll want a TV Mount that tilts, swivels, and pulls down.
- Tilting TVs are important when your TV is mounted high on the wall. When you’re looking slightly up at the TV, you can create the perfect head-on eye-level viewing angle by tilting the TV down to meet your gaze.
- Swiveling TVs are important when you have alternate seating to the side of the TV or other viewing areas. This is especially important for open concept rooms like kitchen/living combinations or man caves where you might want to watch TV while you prepare dinner or turn the TV towards the pool table while you play a game.
- TVs that pull down are helpful when you’d like to use the TV and the fireplace isn’t on (which happens often). Because the danger of heat damage is eliminated, pulling the TV down over the fireplace isn’t a concern, allowing you to lower the TV to a natural viewing angle for the optimal experience.
It’s dangerous to pull your TV directly in front of the fireplace, so Mantel Mount comes with heat sensitive protection: at 110 degrees the pull down handles will turn bright red, letting you know that the temperature is too hot and your TV should be returned to the raised position above the fireplace.
Best Fireplace TV Mount by Price
Not everybody wants or needs a top of the line TV mount for above their fireplace. Thankfully there are solid options at a variety of price ranges and we’ve selected our favorites in each category:
- Best Overall TV Mount: MM750 Pro
- Best Value TV Mount: MM700 Pro
- Best Affordable TV Mount: MM540 Enhanced
- Best Cheap TV Mount: MM340 Standard
Best Screen Size for TVs above the fireplace
When you’re measuring for the best TV size in a normal room, you’ve got the luxury of a full wall, but above the fireplace, space is limited. You want a TV small enough to share the spotlight with your fireplace but big enough to attract your attention with an amazing picture.
To calculate the best TV size for a TV above the fireplace, follow these three steps:
- Identify the maximum TV Height
- Determine the maximum TV Size
- Calculate the best TV Size
First identify the maximum TV height by measuring the vertical space available:
Before you do anything else you should identify the maximum TV size that you can put above your fireplace. There is no greater disappointment than unboxing your TV, getting ready to mount it, and realizing that it’s too darn big!
- Measure the distance from the top of the fireplace or mantle to the ceiling
- Subtract 7-inches to allow space between the top of the fireplace/mantle and the TV for both ventilation and aesthetic purposes
- Subtract another 7-inches (or more) to allow for equal or greater space between the top of the TV and the ceiling
To determine the maximum TV size, we can take our maximum height (calculated above) and the TV’s aspect ratio (16:9), and plug it into a simple math formula (Pythagorean Theorem) to determine the maximum diagonal distance (the ]TV size, or mathematically speaking, the hypotenuse).
|TV Size||Screen Width||Max Height|
Now that we’ve set our limits (maximum height, maximum TV size), we can be sure that our excitement doesn’t get the best of us. Staying within these parameters will insure we select an appropriately sized TV that will fit in our space.
Calculate the Best TV Size
To find the optimal TV size for above your fireplace:
- Measure the distance in inches between your primary seating and the TV location
- For a balanced viewing experience, divide the distance by 1.6 to determine the optimal TV size
- For a home theater style experience, divide the distance by 1.4
- To find the absolute maximum, divide by 1.2 (NO BIGGER)
You can learn more in our article that explains how to find the best TV size. In the rare case that you’ve already got your TV picked out and are wondering how far away to place your couch, check out our full TV buying guide.
How high to mount a TV above the Fireplace
Even after you’ve bought your TV and purchased a mount, you’ll be scratching your head wondering exactly how high on the wall to mount your TV above the fireplace. No worries- it’s rather simple.
As long as you buy a TV mount that tilts, don’t worry about hanging the TV too high or too low. You want the center of the TV as close to eye-level as possible without interfering with the aesthetic design of the fireplace and room. Most people place the TV 7-inches to 15-inches above the fireplace.
Don’t forget the soundbar!
One huge mistake people make when mounting a TV above the fireplace is that they forget to leave room for their soundbar. This can be a disaster, leaving you with a sub-par display or forcing you to remove and rehang the TV.
When measuring the TV mounting height, don’t forget to consider the height of your soundbar in proximity to the bottom of the TV and your mantle!
Now that we’ve walked you through the nitty gritty details for putting a TV above your fireplace, you’re ready to pick the perfect TV model. That task is best completed by following our TV Buying Guide.
To determine the acceptable operating temperatures for LED-LCD, QLED, and OLED TV’s we used these resources from Samsung and LG: